A FORMER Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) vessel in Llandudno is to be transported to a new location in the town tomorrow (April 12).

Tillie Morrison Sheffield ON 851, which was stationed in Llandudno from 1953 until 1959, will be moved via a low loader from Deganwy to Bodafon Farm Park, where it will arrive at roughly 2pm tomorrow.

During her service in Llandudno, Tillie was launched 17 times and saved eight lives, and was able to carry 30 survivors together with her crew of eight.

She was built in 1947 at a cost of £10,573 by J.S. White, Cowes, Isle of White, and measures 35ft 6in in length and 10ft in breadth, with an original weight of 7.25 tonnes.

Of the early RNLI lifeboats stationed in Llandudno, Tillie is the only one remaining; she was the first RNLI self-righting motor lifeboat with twin engines, and twin propellers.

After leaving the RNLI, she was converted into a yacht, and then a fishing vessel.


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In July 2014, following a public appeal for funds, social enterprise “Ships’ Timbers” bought Tillie, discovered as an abandoned fishing vessel, from a classic boat owner in Hartlepool.

Tillie was then brought back to North Wales, and has since been kept within an open area of hard standing at Deganwy Marina.

Ships’ Timbers aim is to restore Tillie to her original form as a former RNLI lifeboat, and estimate an approximate restoration cost for Tillie of between £50-70,000.

As a fully restored early wooden RNLI lifeboat, Tillie will be a tourist attraction, and provide an opportunity for people to learn about RNLI wooden boat construction, and the service history of the vessel.

Following her relocation to Bodafon Farm Park tomorrow, the plans concerning Tillie involve:

• Tillie’s engines being taken to Coleg Llandrillo’s Rhyl site, and kept on display for the students to learn about.

• Dates for heritage consultant, Ian Clark, will be agreed, to visit Tillie in 2022 to carry out the condition survey, and provide restoration options for the vessel.

• Costing the restoration of the vessel, explore funding options, and begin to seek funds.

• Deciding the conservation option for the vessel and planning the conservation programme as a grassroots project.

• Opening an exhibition space at Bodafon Farm Park and have interpretation boards next to Tillie.

In preparation for transport back to Llandudno, Tillie’s twin engines were removed by the Marine Engineers from Conwy Boat Folk.

RRC Cranes will be providing crane support to lift the boat during relocation and relocate Tillie to Llandudno.

A statement from Ships’ Timbers added: “Tillie Morrison Sheffield was registered with registered with National Historic Ships in 2014 and is recognised as being of significant importance within the fleet.

“The vessel is the most important historic wooden boat currently in existence along the North Wales coast.

“This project will serve to secure a new future for this important historic lifeboat.”

For more about Tillie, go to: tilliemorrison.blogspot.com.